We also had Bishop Felton Smith, Jr. of The Church of God in Christ (Prelate of Tennessee Eastern First Jurisdiction and Episcopal Coordinator on the Board of Bishops), Pastor Sonja Lynette Burch, Dr. Chaun Johnson, Pastor Jeffrey Hollins, Archbishop Israel.
We prayed together, listened to each other’s stories and committed to work together to find a way forward in this time of crisis in our nation. Pray for us as we come together as leaders from our various denominations to work toward justice and peace.
Video from Bishop Jack Lumanog’s sermon – “I Can’t Breathe” – for Pentecost Sunday from Luke 4:1-21 follows below.
This powerful and challenging word is a call to lament and repent in light of today’s celebration of Pentecost Sunday and the events of this past week with the death of yet another unarmed African American in George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Come, Holy Spirit, breathe new life into Your Church. Help us to be a prophetic voice in this country once again.”
O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Luke 4:1-21 (ESV)
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you’,
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
I am in lament. Truly in lament over what has been happening at an astonishing rate in America that I can hardly keep up with the incidents and names of unarmed African Americans who are being killed. Enough is enough.
I am a person of color as an Asian American. But I don’t believe my experience even comes close to what my black brothers and sisters have to fear everyday for their own safety.
I have been asked by leading black archbishops on how to respond and I will add my voice and my strength to this movement.
For now, I cry out to the Lord using the words of Psalm 13:1-2 …
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”